Keyboards can be fun, too

Those who know me know that I have something of a keyboard/mouse fascination. I’ve gotten almost every interesting new keyboard and/or mouse that the company makes. To be clear though, what I’m looking for is a better keyboard and mouse, not just a pretty one. So I avoid the purely aesthetic devices that we create,…


A lesson in branding: PC laptop manufacturers

When you look at this picture, you are overwhelmed by Apple logos. There are other laptops there, but they don’t stand out. Apple laptops do two important things with their logo. First, it is the right way up when the lid is open. To do that, the logo has to face away from the user…


Surfing through my phone – Windows Vista and Windows Mobile

A long time ago when I worked on Windows XP, I worked on a project to add Bluetooth PAN support to Windows. At the time (March 2004), I wrote: We also added Bluetooth Personal Area Networking (PAN) support. PAN is a Bluetooth profile that essentially creates a standard IP network over a Bluetooth connection. PAN…


The more things change, the more things stay the same

Some years ago Chris Pratley, an Office GPM, wrote an interesting article that talks about some of the mid-90s competition in the word processing space from the point of view of someone working on Microsoft Word. The thing about these comparative reviews is that they tried to evaluate the products each release as if you…


Vista DST coolness

Blah, blah, blah, Daylight Saving Time is changing… Yawn. This, however, is very cool mini-feature in the Vista clock (click on your clock on the tray).   One thing I like about Vista is the tiny little features that add up to a great experience.


"Why Software Sucks"… Sigh.

Okay. Major disclaimer: I develop software. I’ve designed many a piece of UI that makes me cringe to think about it (including the most seen and irritating balloon on the face of the planet — “Wireless Network Connection is now connected”. I’ll write a blog post on that one sometime soon). So, I’m biased. That said,…


Lessons on Simplicity in Software Development

Nick Bradbury, creator of FeedDemon, one of the best feed readers around, has been writing a series of blog posts on the theme of “Simplicity Ain’t So Simple.” They are definitely worth checking out. Here are links to the first five in the series: Part I: Decide what to Hide Part II: Stop Showing Off Part…


UI is hard

It’s always nice to see someone who understands. Via Scoble, I read this post by Damien Katz about re-writing the Formula Engine in Lotus Notes. A fascinating story, but the part that made me smile was this: UI stuff is hard, but not many people actually appreciate how difficult it is to do correctly. Everyone…


Musings on Consistency in OS Design

I’m a bit behind in my browsing and posting, but I wanted to note that Pierre Igot has posted parts 2 & 3 of the Mac OS X Hall of Shame. I take these articles as object lessons — examples of things I wouldn’t want to repeat, and an opportunity to get a different perspective….


Where do icons come from?

One of the more interesting things I worked on during the past few months was the development of a new “wireless“ icon for Windows. I found it a fascinating process and I thought it would be illuminating to share what we go through. Icons are interesting things. They have to be both representative and abstract. Suggestive…